As a long-time assistant coach at Flower Mound High School, Matthew Wright had a twice-annual courtside seat to the Marcus boys basketball team. So when the Marauders hired him as the new head coach this year, the transition was easy.
“I was looking but I wanted to be very selective,” he said. “I was not going to go somewhere just to go somewhere just to say I was a head coach,” Wright said. “Of course, Marcus has had a lot of rich tradition of basketball. It was an opportunity I wanted to pursue if it ever came open and it did. Things worked out. I didn’t even have to move out of my house.”
Also making new job easier has been two assistants from former coach Shane Rogers’ staff – James Singleton and Austin Rodriquez – staying with the program.
“Being at the other school for 14 years, I knew what kind of rivals they are,” Wright said. “They’ve always had really good tradition of sports over here. And while I didn’t know these guys (Singleton and Rodriquez) really, really well, I knew of them. Being able to work with those guys I knew I was going into a good situation. It was comfortability more than anything else.”
This is Singleton’s third year and Rodriquez’s fifth at Marcus. Singleton played 15 years of professional basketball – nine overseas and six in the National Basketball Association including two with the Dallas Mavericks. After retiring in 2017, the current Lantana and former Bartonville resident served as an assistant coach and player development coach for the San Antonio Spurs’ G-League team for two years. Following a one-year break to be with his family, he earned his teaching certificate and joined Marcus as a world history teacher. Rodriguez also teaches world history while Wright focuses on U.S. history.
Wright began at Flower Mound in 2008 and became a varsity assistant in 2014. In 2017-2018, he was a finalist for the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Assistant Coach of the Year Award. He said his coaching style is to keep things simple.
“If it’s simple for the kids, I believe it’s simple for them to play hard and fast,” he said. “I like to play fast on offense. I like to get out and go and if you’re open shoot the ball. We’ll apply defensive pressure when we can but that won’t always be the case. It depends on game-by-game matchups.”
With only two home games so far, their extremely young team started with a 7-6 record. The Marauders had only four returning varsity players after losing nine players to graduation from last year.
“That senior class was one of the better senior classes to come through,” Wright said.
This year there are only two seniors – 6-foot-1 forward Max Woods and 5-10 guard Heff Seibert. Six juniors, three sophomores and one freshman round out the team. Two players – 6-6 junior Cole Welliver and 6-4 freshman Luke Susko – joined the team after the conclusion of football season. Welliver is the team’s tallest player.
Entering this week, junior Naeem Cornett is the top scorer at 11 points per game while junior Dyson Dudley leads in rebounding at 4.5. Also shining has been 5-5 sophomore guard Jayden Ramanan who earned all-tournament honors at Carlisle-Krueger Classic Tournament in early December after being named co-newcomer of the year in 2021-22 as a freshman.
Marcus opens District 6-6A play at home Friday again Plano East.
“We still have to improve on overall basketball smartness – knowing when to shoot, when to pass and when to dribble,” Wright said. “It is a young inexperienced team. We’re trying to be patient with them in that regard. We know they are young guys. They need to learn how to play together. They’re slowly making progress in that area.”